March 30, 2020
EP. 209 — Union Worker vs. Robot Dog Uprising
Fired from his union position, this guy turned to gig economy jobs in the midst of coronavirus. Things are serious right now, but Geth still gets a chance to find out if he ever steals a jalapeno popper and they muse about a future filled with robot dogs
209 — Union Worker vs. Robot Dog Uprising
00:00 CHRIS: [music transition]
[00:00:05] CHRIS: Hello to everybody trying to figure out which side are you on? It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
00:18 THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun and I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:00:28] CHRIS: Hi everybody, it’s Chris. Here’s a stupid question. How you doing? How you feeling out there everybody who listens to the show? I know the answer – stressed, scared, bored, full of confusion. It’s all in this hour. We’re in it together, and man, weird times, weird times. But, I got to say, I say it all the time, bringing conversations out there – human conversations – I really hope more than ever just listening to other people talk makes it feel a little bit more like you’re able to go outside and eavesdrop on a conversation as if you’re in a public place, like we used to be allowed to go to. I’m doing well. My family’s doing well. I had mentioned that we fled New York last week and a bunch of people reached out and wished us luck and said they hope we’re safe. We are. Thank you guys all for your concern. I do want to say I got out before the news started really hitting us, hitting Elmhurst Hospital, which you may have read about that is in my old neighborhood. That’s actually about two avenues from my house, about a five minute walk from my apartment. Much love to my neighbors in Queens and I hope everybody is staying safe, being smart, doing the right thing. All right. Escapism. Get to leave this world of worry via human conversation. We get to take an hour. Think about something else now. Sometimes we do episodes where I like, where me and Jared connect and I go “Okay, I’m going to do it at this time.” And we get on the computer at the same time and we chat and he screens the calls. Sometimes I’ve just been going “You know, it’s 10 o’clock at night. My baby’s asleep. My wife is reading a book. I’m just to going to go do a call.” And I do them by myself. No screening. And I have found that they can, they’re turning out a little different. A) because no screaming there, no screening, rather no screaming. That’s where all their heads are at, that Freudian slip, I’m just bringing up screaming. No screening. So it means they’re just a little more freewheeling. But also late at night I find that I’m a little more laid back. The callers are in a different headspace. I’m doing it at home. So I’m not in the studio. And I find that these really feel like conversations I might be having if I just was sitting in a booth at a bar. The person, if I was having a ginger ale and they were having their favorite alcoholic beverage. This one, me and this guy just sorta got talking about his job and we got into the topic of unions. I’ve always been impressed by unions in America. I’ve always felt like they were vitally important. I’ve always felt like anytime there’s a conflict where union workers are put upon, I tend to take their side first as the information comes out. I don’t know. I’ve always had a very strong love of unions. I think maybe just because I grew up where I did, a lot of people were union members, a lot of people were working class, whatever it is. We just sort of got into it. Talk about what it’s like to be in a union. What makes a union strong? What value money puts on people in this society? Do you think a class war is going to come about? And I barely remember it, probably did this around 11:00 p.m. I had been hanging out with the kid all day. Usually I’m sound asleep by 11:00 p.m. these days. So I might say some crazy stuff. I don’t know. Anyway, I hope everybody’s safe. Hope everybody’s healthy. And I hope you get a little bit of escapism out of this call.
04:01 PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [Beep]
[00:04:09] CHRIS: Hello?
[00:04:11] CALLER: Yeah, you hear me?
04:13 CHRIS: Yeah, I can hear you. Can you hear me?
[00:04:16] CALLER: I sure can. Honestly, I really did not expect to get through so.
04:23 CHRIS: [talking over caller’s muffled speech] Yeah I put out, I put out that actual call prompt like an hour and a half ago. Yeah, now that I’m doing this at home, I decided, hey, let’s do two in a night. Let’s get crazy. Let’s really live. It’s almost midnight where I am.
[00:04:36] CALLER: Nice. Yeah, it’s about 11:00 here. I know, maybe 10.
04:43 CHRIS: Look at that. All right. I got a general idea of your time zone. OK.
[00:04:50] CALLER: Maybe that’s too much information.
04:51 CHRIS: Maybe. Unless you live out in the ocean.
04:53 CALLER: People are gonna find me.
04:54 CHRIS: Unless you live in the ocean. Now I know you might be on Mountain Time.
04:57 CALLER: Correct.
04:57 CHRIS: Now, what’s up? What do you want to talk about?
05:02 CALLER: I don’t know, you know, it’s weird. I’ve heard your podcast so many times and, like, I thought about what I would say, but like I said, I didn’t really expect you to answer. So yeah, I don’t know. Let’s start with all this craziness going on. Yeah, everybody’s at home. I am currently not able to isolate myself.
05:24 CHRIS: Why not?
[00:05:26] CALLER: So I, my employment right now is kind of, I have a, I’m not a member of a union of skilled trade. But I was already laid off before all this started happening and I’ve been doing like GrubHub and Doordash, and stuff like that. And yeah, I’ve just been doing that. Still like, you know, trying to make ends meet. Being really safe about it, you know, using hand sanitizers, stuff like that. Making sure that I’m not like, I don’t know, being risky or anything like that, exposing people to any unnecessary risk.
[00:06:06] CHRIS: Yeah. But you’re still going door to door. That must be nerve-wracking, man.
[00:06:11] CALLER: It’s, I don’t know, I guess I don’t feel that nervous about it. There’s a lot of like no-contact deliveries, you know.
06:19 CHRIS: Like drop it at the front door and run away.
[00:06:22] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much like, yeah. I just text them like, “Okay, I’m here. It’s on the porch. Gotta go.”
06:29 CHRIS: Wow dude.
06:30 CALLER: And you know, wash my hands as much as I can.
[00:06:32] CHRIS: Now, it’s funny because they said, and before all this, I mean, obviously the bottom has fallen out, but everybody is saying, “Aw man the unemployment rate, it’s so low, it’s never been better.” But I will say and you tell me from the inside, I know so many people where, yeah, there’s more jobs, but it’s the gig economy. And like you said.
06:53 CALLER: Right.
06:54 CHRIS: Are these jobs, like you’re saying like, yeah, I’m putting together these things just to kind of get by between my union gigs. Are these jobs jobs that actually allow people to keep their head above water? And then you get caught in a loop where now you’re still, you need to do it cause you got to pay the goddamn rent. And you got to walk up to people’s doors when there’s a crazy plague happening? That’s nuts. I don’t like that.
07:11 CALLER: Right.
[00:07:16] CALLER: Yeah, it’s unsettling. And there’s so little security in it, too. You know, you fend for yourself. You know, there’s no insurance. There’s no, you know, nothing like that. Like, I mean, you can make a decent wage doing it, but like my vehicle breaks down, like that’s on me, you know?
07:34 CHRIS: You gotta hustle.
[00:07:37] CHRIS: Yeah, man. I find it really fascinating because there’s all sorts of stuff. There’s the ride shares. There’s TaskRabbit. There’s, you know, you mentioned DoorDash and there’s Uber eats and all this stuff. And it’s like, man, sure, these are creating thousands of new jobs, but are these jobs that, and I’m not judging. I’m certainly not judging. And I’ve actually talked to other callers, I talked to another caller who was a Lyft driver who’s like, “I have figured it out and it’s allowing me to lead the life I want to lead.” I think that’s so cool. But it seems like for a lot of people it’s like, oh, these are jobs, yes. But they’re also just, it’s kind of like just dumping out a jigsaw puzzle on the table and being like, yeah, figure out how to fit these all together into something that makes sense.
[00:08:21] CALLER: Right. Yeah. Absolutely. Like I said, there’s a potential to make a lot of money there and it’s a pretty sweet gig when it comes down to it, because you’re just driving around and going to restaurants like, you know, picking up food. Everybody, so far, like, I haven’t had one rude person that I’ve interacted like and I’ve been doing this off and on since, like, September.
[00:08:42] CHRIS: Now, you can be honest with me.
08:45 CALLER: I feel pretty fortunate.
08:46 CHRIS: You can be honest with me.
08:48 CALLER: Yeah.
[00:08:48] CHRIS: You ever steal a jalapeno popper?
[00:08:51] CALLER: [chuckles] I have not done that once.
[00:08:54] CHRIS: You never snuck a fry?
08:55 CALLER: I’ve heard, like, [laughs] Never. I’ve never like, I mean, I am so reserved about even, like, you know, if it’s an open bag that’s not stapled shut. I’m, like, nervous about that just because I don’t want anybody messing with my food, you know? So I, I respect that on their end.
09:15 CHRIS: There you go, good guy.
[00:09:17] CALLER: And plus, I don’t want to be that guy where like, you know, they show up and they’re like, “Okay, this person obviously ate some of my food.” [chuckles]
[00:09:24] CHRIS: Yeah, like, you get a call, you get a call from Doordash. That’s like, “We got a report that they got a mozzarella stick with literal teeth marks in it. You wanna explain what’s going on?”
09:33 CALLER: [chuckles] Right.
09:36 CHRIS: Well, talk to me.
[00:09:36] CALLER: Yeah, I try to be very respectful about that.
[00:09:39] CHRIS: Do unto others. You’re, you’re a quality human. That’s awful nice of ya.
[00:09:44] CALLER: Oh, thank you. Appreciate that.
[00:09:47] CHRIS: I do my best. Now talk to me. So I’m really fascinated because I feel like this is very much a 2020 thing. So you got the union gig, and unions can be hard to bust into.
09:57 CALLER: Yeah.
09:58 CHRIS: And unions really protect their members. There’s a lot of really good, strong unions out there, so.
10:03 CALLER: Oh, for sure.
[00:10:05] CHRIS: And you like your union?
[00:10:07] CALLER: Oh, yeah. Yeah, for sure.
[00:10:08] CHRIS: Now, talk to me about how does this work as far as dipping in and out of union gigs? Because like you said, you work in the gig economy. And you said it, I said it. It can work for people. People can make money, figure it out. But your car breaks down. You’re screwed and it’s on you. Insurance. It’s on you. You even hear things about like, you know, some of the rideshare apps where it’s like, if you get in an accident with someone in the car, we cover it. But if it’s on your way to pick someone up, it’s on you. Where you’re like, these are not protected jobs.
10:42 CALLER: Oh, yeah.
10:43 CHRIS: And unions erupted in this country and gained strength because workers need protection. So I want to know about that middle ground.
[00:10:50] CALLER: Absolutely.
10:51 CHRIS: Dipping in and out of the union. What’s the situation there? How does it work?
[00:10:56] CALLER: Well, so I’ll start at the beginning with my union experience. So the union I’m in, I applied to in, like let’s see, January of last year. I applied and they only hire once a year or so.
11:10 CHRIS: Oof.
[00:11:12] CALLER: Yeah, but they hire a lot when they do. So I think, let’s see. So the way they do it is they have a pre-apprenticeship class, which is a two week basically night class. And you go there, you do the two weeks, and then like, you get a score based on your homework, your tests, and then they have an interview at the end of it. And you get a score on your interview, as well. So they add those scores all together and they hire basically, like say they’re hiring – I think they hire like 60 apprentices – and they, you know, had maybe a hundred to a hundred and fifty who came out of the pre-apprenticeship program. They just hire the top 60 scores, based on those things. Then, let’s see, In the fall, that’s when you have your first apprenticeship classes where you go on to learn more. But once you take your oath, your oath for the union, and sign your contract, which is like, you know, you’re going to work for them, you’re not going to use your skills that you learned to go work for a non-union contractor or anything.
[00:12:20] CHRIS: Right.
[00:12:23] CALLER: And then at that point, you talked to the apprenticeship coordinator and he puts you in contact with contractors who need work, basically. So it’s the contractors who go through the union for workers. And it’s a construction trade. So it’s all very, as needed. You know, the jobs can [interrupted by Chris]
[00:12:42] CHRIS: Yeah.
12:43 CALLER: The jobs can go two days or they can go six months depending on what they’re building.
[00:12:48] CHRIS: And the senior guys in their first pick of jobs, right?
[00:12:52] CALLER: Right. They’ve put their time in, they’ve got all their skills. That’s the journeymen are the guys who have graduated from the apprenticeship program. So they’re the ones who have more job security. And they’ve also just, like, built contacts with contractors and stuff. You know, they don’t really have to work as hard to get the jobs. They just call up the contractors or, you know, people they know and say, “Hey, you know, you need me to work? Like, I got laid off here. I can work for you.” It’s really touch and go for first-year apprentices in this trade, especially the winter. The first winter of your apprenticeship is the worst because you’re at the bottom of the totem pole and there’s, like, a lot less construction going on. So you kind of have to, you know, fend for yourself as far as that goes. And so that’s when I left my last job, which was the non-union shops. And I got on with them, and I worked for a couple of months in the union. And then I got laid off. And, like, I you know, I was doing Doordash and Grubhub and I was doing all right. And wasn’t seeking out work as actively as I could have, I guess, so. But yeah, I was kind of counting on this spring for it to really, you know, come back.
14:09 CHRIS: Ugh, that’s scary. You don’t even think about all this. You don’t even think about that.
14:14 CALLER: Right.
[00:14:15] CHRIS: That certain work can only happen certain times a year. And the longer this goes on, the more people are just going to be standing in that line hoping that they get the job. And that, like you said, when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, when there’s more work, you get more stuff. But if everybody hasn’t been working that means everybody on the totem pole is back in line. They’re not occupied by the other jobs. Oh, man, this stuff is so scary. This stuff is so scary.
14:45 CALLER: Yup.
14:47 CHRIS: It’s amazing how it affects everything.
[00:14:49] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’ll be honest, like, I feel a little better prepped for this because I’ve been doing my own work in the gig economy, you know, for this long anyway. So, like, I’m not losing a paycheck that I was relying on every week.
15:09 CHRIS: Right.
[00:15:09] CALLER: Like a lot of people.
15:11 CHRIS: Right.
[00:15:13] CALLER: Although, I mean, I really kind of wonder how it’s going to affect the gig economy, because, you know, the people that are ordering delivery right now, like it’s been pretty busy in the past week, but like that’s because people are home for the first week and like, they don’t know what to do. At this point, they kind of see it as like, they’re scared for sure. But they also they’re home and they’re kind of enjoying it and they can order delivery. You know, like, “Oh, let’s order from GrubHub or whatever.”
[00:15:43] CHRIS: Right. Let’s live a little. Let’s make the best of it.
[00:15:45] CALLER: But I mean, in a few weeks, when they start running out of money, you know, the people who don’t have. I mean, let’s face it, most jobs are not protecting their employees from this. So when those people start running out of money, they’re not going to be ordering from GrubHub much. They’re going to be cooking at home a lot. And on top of that, a lot of people like teachers and, you know, people who can’t go to work. They’re now out there delivering, too. So it’s a lot fewer deliveries for everybody.
16:16 CHRIS: Oof.
[00:16:16] But I mean, I’m not too worried about it because, I mean, I have other means like I’m looking into. I’m not going to be specific, but like, there are other jobs. Like, I took a job today that I’ll be starting in a couple of weeks that it’s not bad pay. It’s comparable to what I make with Grubhub. And it’s something that I know, it’s like one of the few things right now that I am not worried about job security with it. So, I mean, I’ll be all right.
16:50 CHRIS: That’s good to have that.
[00:16:52] CALLER: Yeah, I mean, I feel like I’ll be all right, but I worry about a lot of other people.
[00:16:56] CALLER: Yeah, man, me too. And I’m very lucky. Like, I have to say, this podcast itself has been, this like, really amazing foundation for me. And I don’t even need to book guests. I got so lucky that they featured it on This American Life. And it’s this thing that I know, like, OK, I have income. But I’ll tell you, even as a comedian, and that’s a cushy life. You’re a unionist. You’re a union construction worker. I have so much respect for that. There’s not a world in which, like, I’m in the Screen Actors Guild and I’m proud to be in the union, the Writers Guild. But like, this is not like that.
17:32 CALLER: Yeah, absolutely.
17:35 CHRIS: Yeah, it’s a point of pride. But we are not exactly the Teamsters, you know?
17:39 CALLER: Right.
17:39 CHRIS: A bunch of chubby comedy writers. Like, I got respect. You know, I’m not a coal miner. Like I get it. And I understand it. But like, being a comedian right now, I had to cancel all my touring for the first half of the year.
17:52 CALLER: Right.
17:54 CHRIS: And it’s like, ah, okay. At least I have some other income and then my agent goes, “But now you gotta remember every comedian in the back half of the year, is gonna be out on the road. And any city you go to, there’s gonna be two or three other acts that are selling tickets that night.” Everybody’s lives are just getting crammed into half a year.
[00:18:12] CALLER: Right.
18:13 CHRIS: And none of us are allowed to go outside and make money. And how is this, how do you stretch the whole economy like a rubber band? And it’s not going to come back as tight as it used to be.
18:21 CALLER: Yeah.
18:21 CHRIS: Because that’s not how rubber bands work.
18:22 CALLER: Yeah.
18:23 CHRIS: They degrade over time.
18:24 CALLER: Yeah, totally.
18:25 CHRIS: That was a weird analogy.
[00:18:25] CALLER: So not only is the market gonna be saturated with comedians, but it’s gonna be the audience who hasn’t been working for however long, you know, like.
[00:18:35] CHRIS: Yeah, it’s gonna be trying to sell tickets to people with no disposable income. Same thing with the restaurants, right?
18:40 CALLER: Right.
18:41 CHRIS: Trying to sell meals to people who’ve tapped out their disposable income. Everything, ugh, it’s crazy because you know, because then you’ve got the people you’ve got the people going, “Well, I feel like this isn’t real. And I’m only 35, so if I get sick, I hear it’s going to be like a bad cold.” And it’s like, yeah, but to stop it, we got to shut down everything. And when you shut down everything, you gotta be really smart and careful about how you don’t kill it. Because what if all the oxygen goes out? You gotta keep the fire going on some level.
[00:19:12] CALLER: Yeah. And there’s, I mean, everything is so interconnected, like there are people who support the hospital workers and other aspects of the economy. And you know, it all.
19:20 CHRIS: Yeah.
19:21 CALLER: It’s not just, you know, no one job lives in a bubble. Like everybody is working together to make this country be a country. I mean, one thing that people don’t realize about, you know, staying in and whatnot. You know, people want to go out and party because they’re young. And it’s like, well, if it was your grandma who is going to be at risk, you know, you would be a lot more. [Pauses]
[00:19:43] CHRIS: Yeah.
19:44 CALLER: A lot more aware and a lot more responsible about not putting her in danger.
[00:19:50] CHRIS: Right. And it’s like, yeah, it might be a cold for you. But then there’s gonna be so many people in the hospitals and then all the beds are taken up. And then what about everybody who has a heart attack or who gets in a car accident?
20:00 CALLER: Right.
20:01 CHRIS: And all the doctors have been up for 72 hours and they don’t have any gloves left for your surgery?
20:06 CALLER: Right.
20:06 CHRIS: It’s like, “Oh, God.” But you know what? I’m going to give you another compliment. And I know that you said that you’re working your way up in the union. But I’ve always felt that at the end of the day, when the times are tough in this country, it’s the workers who keep our heads on straight. And it’s the workers who always manage to get this country back in touch with what it is and what it’s always been. And I really take a lot of faith in that.
[00:20:35] CALLER: Absolutely.
20:36 CHRIS: And I think that, I think that it’s not bullshit that the, you know. [Stutters] I, people, people, I lean, I lean progressive. I’m a New York City artist, but I really like Klobuchar. Like people, when I, when people say, when people hear me say that they’re like, “Wait, you’re definitely a Bernie guy.” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” There’s things I like. There’s things I don’t like. But one thing I do agree with that he said and that Trump kind of floated behind is like, the working class has been getting fucked with for a long time. A bunch of decades now where they keep fucking with the working class. And I feel like, I know this is a weird pandemic and a disease, but it feels like it’s all tying together where it’s like, well, the workers are gonna save us again. And I have a feeling they’re not gonna be willing to get pushed around anymore.
21:19 CALLER: Oh, yeah.
21:19 CHRIS: I just have a feeling that those days have to be done and that people are going to start drawing lines in the sand.
21:24 CALLER: Yeah. For sure.
21:25 CHRIS: And it’s like all the CEOs. And you read more and more about how the economy tipped over because of this so quickly, because they were all doing this scam. All the corporations were just buying up their own stock, which builds this house of cards and it fell down.
21:39 CALLER: Yeah.
21:39 CHRIS: It’s like the idea that all these people get to just play these money games because they already have money. But then, the hardworking electricians and plumbers and all the people doing what you do in your field, they’re still going. They’re still building. And when they’re not, they’re driving house to house dropping off food for you.
22:00 CALLER: Right.
[00:22:01] CHRIS: That bullshit needs to end. It needs to end.
22:04 CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. Absolutely.
22:05 CHRIS: It has to.
[00:22:07] CALLER: And I mean, like to that point you know, even I mean, the you know, the grocery store employees. Like I mean, it’s like there’s so many people in every field, like, you know, the fast-food workers, the janitors, like everybody. You know, all labor creates value.
22:32 CHRIS: Yes.
22:33 CALLER: And that’s, I hate so much that we undermine that country, like. There is this attitude of, you know, you’re only really important or like you’ve only achieved for yourself if you’re earning a certain amount. Or if you’re in a certain type of position. And if I fall, I mean, some people just want to live their lives, but they also wanna, like, they’ll work hard. But they also like, you know, they don’t want to be CEO or whatever. Like, they’re still creating value and they’re still making the world run for people. And that should be respected on every level, in my opinion.
[00:23:12] CHRIS: This is what we call in the business, a break. We’re gonna go ahead, stretch out. Take a deep breath. Be right back. [music transition]
23:20 [AD BREAK]
[00:23:33] CHRIS: [music transition] All right. Thanks, everybody. Hope you enjoyed that little break we just had. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
[00:23:38] CALLER: You know, they don’t want to be CEO or whatever, like, they’re still creating value and they’re still making the world run for people. And that should be respected on every level, in my opinion.
[00:23:52] CHRIS: Absolutely. I’m totally with you on that. I’ll tell ya, my brother is a very smart and very sweet guy. He lives in Philadelphia and years ago, back in 2016, as everything was shifting. It was becoming clearer and clearer, like oh wait, the political foundation has shifted and nobody’s quite figured it out yet. My brother was like, look, I know a lot of people who have moved to Philly and they are from Pennsylvania coal country. And he goes, “I know I’m friends with a lot of people on here who come from families with that background.” And he goes, “I really don’t understand, like, why? Why do people [interrupts self]? It’s one of the most dangerous jobs you can have. People die of black lung.
24:37 CALLER: Right.
[00:24:39] CHRIS: There’s other industries, like why, why would you want to hang onto it when you can, you could go work at a Wal-Mart? You know, like there’s safer places to work now. And coal’s not as important as it used to be. And I’ll never forget somebody left the comment. One of his friends goes, “Well, I did grow up there and I live in Philly now. But for a few generations, my families have been Pennsylvania coal miners.” And he said, you know, “You can go and you can break your back. And a few things happen. One, you don’t even need to have a high school diploma and you might wind up with a pool in your backyard and you get to go out on your deck and watch your kids swim in that pool you paid for.
25:21 CALLER: Right.
25:23 CHRIS: And there’s not many jobs where you can be uneducated make that happen. And they can also, and then they said “And at the end of the day, when you are part of something like that, there’s pride and you feel like you’re a part of the infrastructure of your country, and you feel like you’re doing stuff that everybody else doesn’t even understand the effect that you’re having, but the coal they burn, you helped get it to them.”
[00:25:45] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:25:45] CHRIS: And that’s not the same as working in a Wal-Mart. Even if you’re making the same amount of money, it’s just not the same feeling of pride.
25:52 CALLER: Oh yeah, absolutely.
25:53 CHRIS: And just like you’re saying, I don’t think that people’s self-worth equals their net worth. And I think we’ve mistaken that. Even within the course of my lifetime, more and more, you see that. Where it’s all about how much money do you make? And that’s the end of the discussion about what a person’s worth. It’s not. But, the idea that you get to work hard and hold your head up with pride. It’s like we’re still asking a lot of the workers in this country to work as hard as they always have. And yet, we’re looking the other way and taking away the pride.
26:27 CALLER: Oh yeah.
[00:26:28] CHRIS: And it’s gonna end poorly for everyone.
[00:26:29] CALLER: And I’ll say this about [the situation]. This whole situation is that I think, I mean, it’s a very scary situation and it’s very uncertain, but I think that there’s a good possible outcome, which is at least in one sense, is like, finally we’ll stand up and demand health care.
26:50 CHRIS: Yeah.
26:51 CALLER: And I think it’s kind of that the timing is good, because I think this year we might have a chance to stand up and demand health care. And, you know, time off, and like benefits. Like things for situations like this, but that don’t necessarily apply to the entire country. We’ll have an understanding of the fact that health problems can really mess your life up and they can be unpredictable, and that a lot of people are susceptible to risks that they can’t control and that we have the means to offset those risks. And you know, now we have a chance to do that. That’s the logical step, in my opinion, without getting too political on you.
[00:27:38] CHRIS: Yeah. No, I get it. Here’s the thing that I’ve learned in my real life and that this show has underlined for me again and again. It’s like I am so wary of political conversations because they can often go so poorly, but, I got no problem talking to you one on one about. I see what all the politicians are spouting, and which ones are claiming they’re standing up for this and that ideal. And here’s how I think it will actually affect my life, as a guy working his way up in a trade and doing the gig economy in between. I want to have that conversation. What I don’t want to have is a bunch of people screaming on Facebook.
[00:28:21] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:28:22] CHRIS: And not even thinking about what a reply might be. Because that doesn’t get us anywhere. But hearing from you. Hey, man. I’m in the construction trades working my way up in the union. Things are really slow. The pandemic is making them even slower. Now is the time of year when guys like me are usually getting gigs, but I’m still scrapping it out in the gig economy because of this pandemic. And it’s making, that’s a situation that’s anybody would hear that right now and go, “Oh my God, is this caller totally safe?” And you’ve got to think about that. That’s what I want to hear about politics. Because I want to know what areas there are in this world where my life and your life cross over. And then you start to see the logical things that actually help everybody.
[00:29:04] CALLER: Right.
29:04 CHRIS: That’s when you have to talk about it.
29:06 CALLER: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
29:11 CHRIS: I didn’t expect this conversation at midnight.
29:13 CALLER: [laughs] Yeah, me neither. Actually, I didn’t expect any conversation tonight, but here we are.
29:20 CHRIS: I love it, though. A guy with the calloused hands of a union worker in the middle of the night ranting alongside a cotton soft comedian, who still has all his opinions on what being a worker is like. But my background, I’ll tell you, my background is no joke hardworking people. So I still get [interrupts self]. I’ll tell you what, man. Because I’ve had a couple of years where I did good and I’m in the cushy entertainment industry. But I promise you this my friend, when the rocks start flying, I’m going to be throwing them right next to you. I don’t care.
29:56 CALLER: [laughs] Right on, man.
29:58 CHRIS: I’m on the right side of the line on that one. Dude, you’d love this. So a few years ago, there was a writers’ strike. The Writers Guild went on strike.
30:05 CALLER: Oh yeah. I remember that.
[00:30:05] CHRIS: And the writers can be, like, a good union. Yeah, it must’ve been 10 years ago now. Ten, eleven years, maybe even more. Jesus, 13 years ago. It was in 2007 and I wasn’t in the Writers Guild yet, but I went marched in solidarity. And you know, it’s a bunch of comedy writers and a bunch of people write for Law and Order, like New York. There’s not even, you know in L.A., I think there was many more writers out. And everyone was just there, like eating donuts. Then the Teamsters showed up in solidarity
30:37 CALLER: Nice.
30:39 CHRIS: And the Teamsters joined the line. And all of a sudden it was like, oh, there’s about to be fights. This is how you do this. These Teamsters, they’re not messing around. They take this seriously.
30:54 CALLER: Oh, yeah.
30:55 CHRIS: We’re all doing bits. These guys aren’t messing around. You’re from one of those unions I bet.
[00:31:00] CALLER: Yeah, not the Teamsters, but I’d say it’s a pretty tough union. I’ll say that.
[00:31:06] CHRIS: Draw some lines in the sand and you do not compromise.
[00:31:09] CALLER: Oh yeah. I mean, I’ve seen the way other contractors react to the people in my union on the worksite. Yeah, it’s a tough union.
[00:31:22] CHRIS: I love it. I love it. And these guys gotta know, if you’re in a town where this union is strong and you’re out here trying to call some non-union guys on the side, your life is going to have some headaches when they find out. I love that. I love it.
31:41 CALLER: Yeah, and I mean that it’s [stutters] it’s strong [interrupts self]. You know, strength is what got us unions and all the, every bit of progress we’ve made in the in the labor industry has been from that strength and that ability and willingness to fight. And, you know, taking pride in yourself and standing up for what you deserve and what you believe in. And I think a lot of unions today, like a lot of union members, might not necessarily see that or understand that, because we’re in a time of relative, I mean, you know, compared to 100 hundred years ago, it’s a lot different. You know, we’re not struggling like they were a hundred years ago or 120 years ago.
[00:32:27] CHRIS: Yeah. And it’s not as visibly fucked up, like you’re not seeing like, eleven-year-olds being used to climb into machinery in textile mills to fix it because they’re small enough. Like you’re not seeing the visible like, “Oh, I could walk past this window and say, oh, that nine-year-old shouldn’t be decided that grist mill right now.”
32:48 CALLER: Right, absolutely.
32:49 CHRIS: Like, that’s pretty obvious.
32:49 CALLER: Yeah.
32:50 CHRIS: It’s now more insidious and hidden the way they try to mess with you.
[00:32:54] CALLER: Yeah. And I mean now, there are a lot of gains made by the unions and they get, like they’ve been getting pushed back I’d say since like the 70s. And I mean, you know, even like starting in the Taft-Hartley laws. I can’t remember when that was, that was a long time ago. But, you know, there have been pushbacks on union gains and that’s just kind of how it is. And I think that’s something that people need to realize. That it is a constant struggle. It’s not like we’re ever going to, ever gonna get to a point where we’ve got everything we need. And now we can just relax. You know, like the boss is always on your back. You’ve got to constantly fight and stand up for what you deserve.
[00:33:40] CHRIS: Yeah. One of the things I said, because like I said, like I know that I’m in SAG. I understand that. Like I said, but at the same time, I do know the situations where that has saved my ass. And I do know the situations where I’ve seen it save other people’s ass. Like in a way that’s not as real as I’m going to fall down a coal mine. But it’s right pretty real as far as you know, I am someone being taken advantage of right now. And the other thing is we all keep our eye on each other. Like when you see the teacher’s union get broken in Wisconsin a few years ago, I feel like everybody else in a union looks up and goes, “All right. They’re really they’re crossing some red lines now. We all got to watch our own backs. Because they’re really trying to break it. They’re really trying to break us. And they’re not gonna baby.”
34:32 CALLER: That’s right.
34:33 CHRIS: Not in my lifetime.
34:34 CALLER: Yeah, because we don’t let them. They can’t. But like we, we can’t do it lying down. Like, we got to stand up for it.
[00:34:44] CHRIS: Yeah. I hope there’s, I bet there’s people out there listening to this audio right now going, “It is time to fucking stand up. It is. We’ve been taking it sitting down for far too long.”
34:52 CALLER: I think so. I think that time is long overdue. Yeah.
[00:34:56] CHRIS: Now, let me ask you this, too, because you seem like a very even-tempered guy. You’re saying all sorts of things that you’re clearly passionate about, but you don’t seem like someone who’s prone to, like, flying into a rage. But as we’re talking about it, I feel like maybe I’ll just cut to the quick and say, do you think there’s gonna be some sort of class war in our lifetime? Do you think about it?
[00:35:19] CALLER: I mean, oh, yeah. I think about it.
35:24 CHRIS: [laughs]
[00:35:22] CALLER: I think, I kind of feel like we’re headed in a direction where it’s inevitable, but I chose to be more polite. We’ll talk about them. I feel like the basis of, the fundamentals of capitalism are such that, like, we can’t avoid class war eventually. Whether that’s going to happen in my lifetime, I mean, I would say probably. But like, I mean, they thought that. I don’t know. They thought that for a long time. I could see it happening. I’ll say that. f
[00:36:08] CHRIS: I love this conversation, just, you know. Not to interrupt, but you and I calmly talking about how you, as a guy in the trenches of the unions, are like, “Yeah, I’ve thought about. Could happen. Maybe not my lifetime, but it’s a coming,” in that calm tone of voice. This is like my dream come true.
36:28 CALLER: Yeah.
36:30 CHRIS: It’s my dream to have this conversation with me now.
[00:36:32] CALLER: Well, I mean, what’s your take on it? Do you see any kind of class revolt in the near future?
[00:36:40] CHRIS: Well, here’s the thing I see is I’m a little confused, or maybe up until now, I’ve been a little naive. But there’s a lot of things that happen now where the justification is that money’s coming in because of it. Whether that means the economy is strong, so we’re willing to ignore sort of other things happening. Or seeing people in my day to day life where they start to make money and they really change. Or seeing so many people where the fact that they aren’t making money to the degree they want to is causing them such massive mental stress. And I feel like in the past two or three years, more than I ever have in my 40 years on Earth, I keep finding myself thinking, “when did we just really decide that money is the end all be all?” When did we decide that? Because I feel like there used to be other aspects to the American dream. Of course, there was always an aspect of like, hey, this is a country where your grandparents can be an immigrant, and then your parents do a little better than they did, and then you do a little bit. That’s my story. That’s my actual story. And I know that part of that is about finance and property and all that. But there also used to be a lot of sides of it that were about feeling like part of a greater whole.
38:10 CALLER: Yeah.
[00:38:11] CHRIS: And patriotism not being weaponized, being celebrated. And communities taking care of each other and small-town values. And it seems like all those sides of things have just been swallowed up by the idea of money is the beginning and end of most conversations. And it’s the justification for a lot of things that seem really wrong to me. And I don’t think capitalism is wrong, but I do think that, you know, when you got people who have three or four jobs, none of which give them insurance. None of them that have any sort of protections to them and those people are fighting to feed their families. And those are real stories that I see and I hear. And then you hear something, like, Amazon and Apple don’t pay taxes.
39:02 CALLER: Right.
39:03 CHRIS: And you’re like. That’s just, I just don’t understand a world in which anyone can justify that. I just don’t understand how since they make the most money, they don’t have to pay into the kitty. It’s just something at that point is broken as far as this obsession with financial success. That’s where I stand on it.
39:22 CALLER: Yeah.
39:22 CHRIS: I just don’t see how you’re not going to eventually push people too far. I just don’t see how it’s not going to happen.
[00:39:26] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, like the thing is, I like again, I don’t wanna become too divisive, but I would say that those are reasonable outcomes of doing so. Capitalism works because as you know, it’s a simple process of access value collected that is created by labor and like put into the hands of the owners the means production. And like to progress, they have to accrue more and more of it to the point where they’re cutting your health benefits and they’re, you know, you’re getting kicked out your home even though you’re working 60 hours a week. You have no choice and no say in what is produced. But I mean, as far as people standing up for themselves. I guess like, I don’t know, sometimes I kind of feel like it’s a race before, like, you know, as long as the ruling class can pay the police to protect them, then basically it’ll get to the point until, like, there’s nobody left but the police and then they, you know, can finally cancel their pensions to save a little bit more money. And like, by that point, they’ll have robots to fight the police for them.
[00:40:45] CHRIS: That’s feeling real to me. A couple of years ago, that would have been a joke. I would’ve been like, “Oh, then they have the robots in the sky and they fight the police.” It’s like, oh no, they have them. I’ve seen them. They have videos of these weird robots that look like scary dogs and they walk on hind legs. And when you see the video, everyone who’s ever seen those videos, is like, has an instinctive reaction of like, “what the fuck is going on?” And I can’t pay for one of them dog robots. Whoever is paying for them dog robot doesn’t have good intentions. You don’t build one of the scary-ass dog robots because you like dogs or you like robots. You’re up to no good. Making those dog robots. You know the ones I mean, right?
41:19 CALLER: Oh yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about. And I mean [interrupted by Chris]
41:23 CHRIS: That’s you’re right. Someday that’s gonna happen. They’re gonna break every union over their back. They’re going to finally break the police union. And then everybody’s going to turn around and they’re gonna there’s gonna be an army of those dog robots walking on their hind legs, with lasers. It’s gonna look like the Phantom Menace with all those weird droids. And we’re all going to go, “oh, no, what did we do?”
41:43 CALLER: Yeah.
[00:41:43] CHRIS: And Jeff Bezos is going to say, “I am your God now.” That’s it.
[00:41:52] CHRIS: And let’s hit pause right there. Every once in awhile, we just gotta pause, take a deep breath, clear our mind, brace ourselves for the end of the phone call. That time is now. We’ll be right back. [music transition]
42:04 [AD BREAK]
[00:42:09] CHRIS: That’s the last one. So buckle up, because we’re about to finish strong. [music transition]
[00:42:15] CHRIS: And we’re all going to go, “oh, no, what did we do?”
42:17 CALLER: Yeah.
42:18 CHRIS: And Jeff Bezos is going to say, “I am your God now.” That’s it.
[00:42:21] CALLER: And at that point, though, those eyes will be made by machinists who are getting minimum wage. And then once they created the robots, they’re fired and they have to move out of their houses, but they can’t buy a dog or a watch.
[00:42:37] CHRIS: I have been working on a joke, but it’s a little too convoluted and it’s a little too real to get a laugh. Where the premises like, I have seen small businesses in my neighborhood disappear. And I also see so many Amazon packages in my lobby. And I’m like, Amazon is clearly shutting down small businesses. But it’s also growing so fast where it’s like our only option at some point is just gonna be we all work for Amazon and that we give our money to Amazon so they can send us products. And then the guy down the hall from me is driving that truck. And I gotta go pack the truck for my other neighbor to drive the truck down to where we are, where it’s just the old company store. Where Amazon is a global company store.
[00:43:25] CALLER: Right. Yeah. And I mean, it all [interrupted by Chris]
43:26 CHRIS: That old idea.
43:28 CALLER: You know, it’s already got state sponsorship. It’s ingrained in our nation. And I mean, that’s a successful capitalist. That is like what success looks like under capitalism.
[00:43:51] CHRIS: Yeah. We idolize that. We idolize that.
43:59 CALLER: Right. And I mean, that’s where it’s gotten [interrupted by Chris]
43:59 CHRIS: We teach that, we teach that as the end goal.
[00:44:03] CALLER: And I mean, [interrupted by Chris]
44:05 CHRIS: I just Googled is Amazon unionized? And guess what the answer is?
44:08 CALLER: Oh, absolutely not.
[00:44:10] CHRIS: There are no unionized Amazon warehouse employees in the United States. None.
[00:44:15] CALLER: They’re very anti-union.
44:17 CHRIS: None. [Sighs] Oh, these guys.
[00:44:22] CALLER: And that’s I mean, you know, Jeff Bezos is worth more than he, [interrupts self] he’s worth about what he like owes in taxes. You know, software is great, but he himself doesn’t create any actual value. He’s got, you know, people, you know, workers who create a value for him. You know, by making sure your package can get there a day after you order it or whatever. But I mean, he like, does that man deserve to be a billionaire? Has he provided a valuable enough good and/or service? Basically like that amount of power, or that amount of money, basically giving you more power than anyone on Earth?
[00:45:11] CHRIS: Yeah. It’s very, very sick. It’s reflective of some sort of a real sickness that’s come over us lately, and I hope we scale it back. I hope we scale it back. Because I don’t see why, I don’t see why that guy gets all those billions, like you say. And more power to him if he can earn it, but not in a world where none of his workers are allowed to unionize.
45:39 CALLER: Right.
45:40 CHRIS: And not in a world where hardworking guys like you are, you know, in a way that is scary. Where you doing the gig economy thing when there’s a fuckin pandemic like it doesn’t add up. You can’t. You can’t have both.
[00:45:53] CALLER: The thing about millionaires, though, is that like, nobody can individually earn a billion dollars.
46:02 CHRIS: No.
46:02 CALLER: He has people who earned that money and he has figured out how to take most of it from them. And that’s the lopsided nature of capitalism.
[00:46:12] CHRIS: And he uses our infrastructure too.
46:16 CALLER: Oh yeah.
46:17 CHRIS: Those trucks, drive on the roads we paid for, and that we paved. Somebody paved those roads and somebody paid for those.
46:23 CALLER: Right.
46:24 CHRIS: All the bridges those trucks go over. All the tunnels they go through. These are built by people. You think anybody’s ever built a tunnel and felt safe about it? You think anybody’s ever built a massive bridge and felt like there’s no risk to it?
46:37 CALLER: Right.
46:38 CHRIS: Of course not. Pay your taxes and protect those people. It’s logic. It’s not even logic. It’s basic decency. It’s kindness. Protect the people putting their necks out to do the hard stuff.
46:52 CALLER: Right. Or at least like, make it so they don’t have to work during a pandemic.
[00:46:59] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. Make it where they can, you know, where maybe the first headlines don’t need to be about how to protect banks? Maybe not right now.
47:10 CALLER: Right.
47:12 CHRIS: Maybe not right now. Let’s be a little classier with the order the headlines come out. So who knows? I like you, my steely voiced friend. You are a calm, cool and collected person with a strong set of ideas and a clear ability just to explain to you. I really appreciate it.
[00:47:28] CALLER: Would you consider my voice steely?
[00:47:33] CHRIS: I would say that you’re very even-tempered and very measured, and your voice has an edge to it. I would say yes, it’s steely. I would say there is a Clint Eastwood-esque steeliness.
47:44 CALLER: [chuckles] I’ll take it.
47:47 CHRIS: Like I could see, I could see you sitting old school style, drinking at a bar down by the docks, quietly getting everybody else riled up about how this world is working and how it might need to change soon.
[00:48:01] CALLER: Yes. And I guess one of the predicaments in my trade is that it’s very, the guys I work with, I mean, you know, very roughneck types, but very, I’d say they probably vote Democratic most of the time. Because Democrats tend to support unions more, but they’re they tend to be more right-wing type, you know, really like socially, politically.
[00:48:32] CHRIS: I grew up with the exact, I think you’re just describing Irish Catholics.
48:38 CALLER: Yeah. [laughs]
[00:48:40] CHRIS: Like that’s who I grew up with. We’re going to vote Democratic because we like the unions, right? But socially, here at the bar, you might hear a thing that makes you cringe, socially.
48:52 CALLER: Oh, absolutely. Yes. And I’ve heard some pretty problematic things on the worksite that I just kinda, try not to react to.
[00:49:03] CHRIS: Yeah. Worksites are not always bastions of progressivism.
49:07 CALLER: Right. But I’m actually on the subject, well, I was raised an Irish Catholic myself.
[00:49:14] CHRIS: Yeah, I had a feeling, man. I had a feeling. I’ve heard some, I’ve had some family members who have some similar opinions to you for sure, when it comes to work, and when it comes to wealth, and how they intersect.
[00:49:34] CALLER: Yeah, my grandpa was a union laborer. I have a few uncles who a union. Maybe that’s where all this talk comes from. I guess I still characterize them as Democrats as far as the scale from left to right but.
[00:49:56] CHRIS: Yeah, but that mean something, too, right? They protect your grandpa. They protect your dad.
50:02 CALLER: Right.
[00:50:04] CHRIS: And it makes you want to fight tooth and nail to make sure that they do.
[00:50:08] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, for sure.
[00:50:12] CHRIS: I like this combo. I got a friend who’s a longshoreman. I think I’m more jealous of him than anybody.
50:17 CALLER: Oh, nice.
50:18 CHRIS: I feel like that’s just the coolest, most old school life there is.
[00:50:21] CALLER: Yeah, dangerous too, right?.
[00:50:26] CHRIS: Working down on the docks. I think many comedians, when I think about being a comedian, I think very often about how like, you know, sometimes I’ll get these gigs and I’ll look at the ticket price and I’ll be like, “I hate that. Why is it high?” First of all, I don’t think I could, I don’t think I’m worth that. But also, I don’t only I don’t want a room full of people can afford a $30 ticket, $28 ticket. Because I feel like comedians should exist to make people at the end of it. I always felt like that’s why I loved Late-Night TV. That’s why I love Letterman. I’m like, in my mind it’s like somebody goes and works and they have a really hard day and their boss is being a shit. And then they come home and they hang out with their families and they’re exhausted. And right before bed, they get to see some comedian make fun of the fucking politicians.
51:25 CALLER: Right.
51:26 CHRIS: Like, to me that’s what comedy is for. It’s to make people laugh when people have hard days. And that feels noble to me.
[00:51:31] CALLER: Oh, absolutely. I mean, it’s stuff like that that makes everything else worth it. Like that’s?
[00:51:38] CHRIS: Yeah. So that’s what I feel like the good side of my industry is, is making people like people like you, the electricians at the bottom of the totem pole, the plumbers, the construction guys, all of them. I’m like, that’s who I want to make laugh. In my mind. But I know mostly it’s like blue-haired hipster college kids in reality. That’s most of who actually my fan base historically has been. But the ideals of it. I think you’re trying to take care of the right. I think that’s how comedians came to exist. I’ve always said that. That there’s people out there who can do such hard work and face down such tough things and that many, like back in like the caveman days. They were the guys who went out and did the hunting or the guys who went out and they built the shelters or the guys who like fought off the saber-tooth tigers when they showed up. And then there were the guys like me, who at the end of the day, would like gather around the fire and be like, “hey, I’m gonna crack some jokes here, and then maybe you guys can share some of the meat with me?” I feel like that’s how comedians came to exist as a thing. It’s like, I’m weak and small, but if I could make you laugh, I’d love to have some of your leftovers. Like I feel that’s [interrupted by caller]
[00:52:48] CALLER: Yeah, but I mean, like, comedy though, comes from a very real place. Like, I feel like every great comedian has just suffered. That’s where like the common, we don’t tend to find humor from someone who just sat around all their life and been comfortable like that. I mean, I know that you’ve definitely had your share of hardships. But like it’s not necessarily like [interrupted by Chris]
53:15 CHRIS: Ehh, I’ve had in a pretty good life.
53:17 CALLER: What’s that?
[00:53:19] CHRIS: I’ve had a pretty good life, all things considered.
[00:53:20] CALLER: Yeah, but you’ve also had rough times in that life. Like me.
[00:53:25] CHRIS: Yeah, I lost my mind a couple of times.
53:27 CALLER: Right.
53:27 CHRIS: [laughs] But that’s OK.
[00:53:28] CALLER: My God. I would rather deal with physical hardship than, you know, mental and emotional. Like the physical hardship, you can walk away from easily. The mental and emotional, that’s a little bit tougher. But I mean, that’s like the manure that the flower of finally grows out of. And I think that’s why, like, there are so many comedians who have really messed up stories that they can tell you. Like a lot of them been down, like really down, like in ways that people may not be able to relate to. But like, that doesn’t mean that it’s not real. Like your experience might be different.
[00:54:15] CHRIS: Yeah, I bet some people hear it and they go, and people go, “Oh, you’re saying it out loud. I’ve always thought that.”
54:20 CALLER: Right.
54:21 CHRIS: I think that’s cool. I had a friend from college who’s, like, a labor organizer now, and I’m really jealous. I keep saying I’m going to quit comedy next year. I don’t know if I am, I just say it when I get frustrated. And then people are like, “What are you going to do?” I’m like, “I’d love to be a labor organizer,” but I don’t even know what that is or how to do it really.
[00:54:39] CALLER: Yeah. What capacity did your friend work in?
[00:54:43] CHRIS: My friend, it’s very strange. It’s a small world. She was a girl I went to college with and she was so cool. She was a cool punk rock girl, dated friend of mine. And we used to party at the same house with our punk friends. And then, now she flips, she flips a lot of things over to being part of the WGA. The Writers Guild, but it’s cool because it’s a lot of, like, online. A lot of these publications where there are the higher people and it’s like, you know, online magazine writing or online news reporting, where it falls into this hazy area where you’re like, well, what union would represent it? And she’s one of the people who like, fuck that, we got this. And then she flips all these things. She flips all these businesses. It’s cool to see. She posts about it. And I’m always like, “Oh, that’s the coolest thing.” I wish I was doing something that good for the world. I wish I was. And I do some stuff that’s pretty good, but that’s really good. That impresses me.
55:40 CALLER: That is awesome.
[00:55:40] CHRIS: I’d like to do that.
[00:55:41] CALLER: But I mean, like also like, let it be said that you definitely provide something very valuable. You just do it in a different way.
55:50 CHRIS: Ehh, I do my best. So do you. So do we all. That’s nice of you to say. But we all do. We all got something to offer. And then some people have the guts to actually go out and offer it up. And it’s always, it’s always cool to see. I like that you called up and said, “I don’t know what I want to talk about.” And for 56 minutes we’ve been talking about the importance of unions and a potential class war. I guess that’s a pretty cool way for that to turn out.
56:12 CALLER: [laughs] Oh, my God, has it been 56 minutes?
56:16 CHRIS: Yeah, we got four minutes left.
56:17 CALLER: Oh, my God.
56:19 CHRIS: Time really flies when you’re talking about the working man.
56:21 CALLER: Yeah, seriously. Well, and I’ve heard people say it on your podcast, but I was just like, wow, I had no idea it’s been that long. I would have thought it’s been like 30 minutes maybe.
[00:56:35] CHRIS: Nah, it flew by, flew by. Can I tell you something as we have four minutes left?
56:41 CALLER: Yeah.
[00:56:41] CHRIS: And I’m not trying to freak you out, but just to make sure you’re on top of it. And I’m not making a joke here. There’s been a bunch of times where it sounds like you’ve coughed. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. You’re going door to door, meeting lots of people and I just want to make sure. I don’t know if you’ve been clearing your throat or coughing, but the neurotic part of me that cares about you as a human just wants to make sure you aren’t in denial about that. Are you aware of this?
[00:57:05] CALLER: [chuckles] I’m aware. So I’ve been smoking cigarettes.
57:11 CHRIS: Ah.
57:11 CALLER: And yeah. I’ve been feeling great. And like, I’ve been drinking a little bit and when I drink, I smoke cigarettes. So, like, I think that’s what you’ve been hearing. I promise you, I feel good. I haven’t been coughing. It hasn’t been an issue, up until I was on the phone, clearing my throat. I’ve been looking and like checking on symptoms to make sure that I’m not exhibiting anything because I’m pretty safe about everything. So.
[00:57:50] CHRIS: Now, what were you drinking tonight?
[00:57:53] CALLER: Tonight I was drinking Guinness.
[00:57:58] CHRIS: Man. That’s the person I always wished I could be. Drinking a Guinness, smoking cigarettes, talking about the unions.
[00:58:09] CALLER: [laughs]
58:09 CHRIS: That’s not me. I’m drinking, I’m drinking diet ginger ale. Eating chocolate covered almonds. And reading comic books. That’s me. Different type of human. But I got a lotta respect for you.
58:22 CALLER: Wait, what comic books?
58:26 CHRIS: I’m rereading marvels right now. You ever read Marvels?
58:29 CALLER: Not much. The only comics I got into were the big, like you know, the famous graphic novels like Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Preacher. Those are like pretty legit.
[00:58:41] CHRIS: You’d love this. So Marvel’s is a graphic novel. It’s amazing. It retells the entire early phases of the Marvel universe through the perspective of just a regular dude. Just this guy, who’s a photographer who starts grappling with the idea of “Man, these are superheroes. These are like gods. In what way do I matter in this world?” And it’s a really cool take on superheroes you’ve heard of.
59:08 CALLER: Oh man.
[00:59:08] CHRIS: It’s great. It’s from the 90s.
59:11 CALLER: Wait is this Marvel graphic novels?
[00:59:13] CHRIS: Yeah, it’s called “Marvels.” Like Marvel with an S on the end.
[00:59:17] CALLER: OK. Yeah, I’ll need to check that out then.
[00:59:19] CHRIS: You’re gonna love it. I promise you, you’re gonna love it.
59:22 CALLER: Right on.
59:23 CHRIS: Fifty-eight.
[00:59:26] CALLER: Fifty-eight minutes. Oh, man. [chuckles]
59:26 CHRIS: Fifty-eight minutes of union politics and class war. And then a final minute of comic book recommendations. This has been a dream come true.
59:33 CALLER: Yeah, I assure you that I didn’t mean to talk about any of that for that long, if at all.
[00:59:39] CHRIS: I love it. I love it. Because here’s why I love it. Cause I always sit around and think about what people are feeling out there. And people in your exact situation. You came on here and you said it. And that’s fascinating to me. It’s fascinating. This gig economy. This capitalism. The way it’s mixing together, the way we gotta look out for ourselves and each other. Fascinating. And I thank you for sharing it.
[01:00:09] CALLER: Right on. Well, I thank you for having me. Oh, by the way, one thing.
[01:00:14] CHRIS: It’s a pleasure.
1:00:15 CALLER: I always thought that I would say to you, if I ever got on with you. I first saw you on Cutman Films YouTube way back in the day.
[01:00:27] CHRIS: This is the deepest of deep cuts. What are you talking about?
[01:00:31] CALLER: The most awkward boy in the world.
[01:00:34] CHRIS: I wrote those.
1:00:36 CALLER: You wrote those? Oh shit, I loved those.
1:00:40 CHRIS: I loved those, put my buddy Zach in ’em.
1:00:41 CALLER: And I remember [Chris interrupts]
1:00:42 CHRIS: That’s … awhile ago.
1:00:43 CALLER: I remember the episode where you did the YouTube war with Gabe from The Office. Because when I found that, I can’t remember his name, he was like, listen to him.
[01:00:50] CHRIS: My buddy, Zach. Yeah, we started a little group. We were making films together.
1:00:54 CALLER: Yeah.
1:00:55 CHRIS: Me and him lost touch. It’s a shame we were best friends. We were connected at the hip and now we’ve lost touch. And it’s a bummer. It bums me.
[01:01:01] CALLER: Yeah. I was actually listening to NPR for humans tonight and he was on. It was like an old episode, but yeah. But I just want to say, like, I love those videos and I love your YouTube wars. I thought it was hilarious.
[01:01:13] CHRIS: That’s old school. That’s when no one knew who I was and no one gave a shit. You’ve had my back for a while. Thank you.
[01:01:19] CALLER: You guys had, like, 200 subscribers when I was watching those videos and I thought I was the most brilliant, unsung YouTube series out there.
[01:01:32] CHRIS: [laughing] This is blowing my mind. Thank you for having my back from way back in the beginning when no one gave a shit. Super nice of ya.
[01:01:41] CALLER: I mean, it was good content. It was hilarious stuff.
[01:01:44] CHRIS: [laughing] All right my friend. Stay safe out there.
1:01:46 CALLER: Will do.
1:01:47 CHRIS: Stay strong out there. Which side are you on? There is power in a union.
1:01:52 CALLER: Absolutely.
1:01:53 CHRIS: [ring] All the good [unintelligible] songs.
[01:01:57] CHRIS: Thank you so much to our caller, say strong out there. Keep doing what you gotta do. And thank you for all the insight. Thank you to Jared O’Connell. Thank you to Anita Flores. Thank you to Shellshag. Thank you to everybody who listens. If you like the show, Apple Podcasts. Rate, Review, Subscribe. It really helps when you do. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you next time. [music transition]
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